Woodshop is an indie rock band, and in their recent album, they blended a variety of musical influences, powerful vocals, and instrumental expertise. Woodshop consists of Berkeley High School (BHS) juniors Anton Migdal on guitar and Theo Fleig on drums, as well as singer Mina Handlesman from Piedmont High School and bassist Teddy Lee from the Athenian School. “[Our music is] very simple, but very effective for providing cool sounds,” said Migdal.
The band plays a mixture of covers and originals, and they have one album released on Spotify and Apple Music, titled 7Ply. They frequently perform in small venues around the Bay Area, and before the Delta variant of COVID-19 led to more closures, they were planning on opening for the group Run-DMC.
Woodshop cites the band Radiohead as inspiration for their most recent sound. Migdal is the writer for most of Woodshop’s songs, and his creative process is flexible. “I always start with [the] guitar,” Migdal said, “and then usually I write a melody and bring it to the band, and we kind of expand from there.”
“We’re very jazz-influenced,” said Fleig. His beats are specifically inspired by hip hop and trip hop groups, such as the band Portishead. “I try to just mix it up,” he said.
Woodshop’s bassist is going to college next year and all of the other members will also be graduating that year. Fleig speculated that the band probably won’t make it past high school.
In the meantime, Woodshop is hoping to put out a new album. “Probably in three months we’ll start recording,” said Migdal. “I think we can crank out a couple more songs.”
The past year has brought together alternative rock band I’d Rather Sleep. With inspiration from a vast range of genres, I’d Rather Sleep hopes to bring something new to the Bay Area music scene.
The band has BHS junior Georgia Fishman as lead vocalist, Albany High School students Riley Newfield and Amalia Gould on guitar and drums, El Cerrito High School student Henry Clayton on bass, and Jackson Hartline, who is homeschooled, on keyboard.
Formed in April 2021, I’d Rather Sleep got their start through the School of Rock, and is the the program’s promotional “house band” for the Berkeley branch. Being a house band means that I’d Rather Sleep is expected to focus on covers of songs, but the group has other plans.
“We kind of have just been drifting farther and farther away from the School of Rock algorithm, so we’ve just been spending practices recording and making original music,” said Fishman. The group has a self-titled EP made up of five demos on Spotify, created in late 2021 before Hartline and Newfield joined.
It’s hard to put I’d Rather Sleep in a box. “We’re everything, we are so broad,” said Hartline. With a Metallica-obsessed guitarist, rap-inspired keyboardist, R&B-loving singer, and a myriad of other influences, including Yebba, System of a Down, City Morgue, Amy Winehouse, and Thelonious Monk, I’d Rather Sleep has no shortage of inspiration. Gould said, “I like to say we’re a combination of the Strokes and Metallica.”
The group takes pride in that they look up to and support locally-based artists, especially for Newfield — as a Metallica fan. “That’s special for me, [that] I play music where my biggest inspiration plays music,” Newfield explained.
I’d Rather Sleep has a show coming up at Oakland Secret on March 19.
For the five-member jazz group casually referred to as Barn Band, music is guided by friendship and fun. “The special thing about Barn Band is we’re just a group of friends,” said pianist Otto Montgomery.
The group consists of five BHS sophomores: Montgomery on piano, Fletch Piper on guitar, Marlow Buettner on drums, Reuben Zinner on bass, and Mason Pancoast on trumpet. The group was formed when they were in seventh grade, and their name came from when they played in a barn in Buettner’s backyard.
“We just wanted a group to jam with, but then we got serious,” said Montgomery. They hired a musical instructor who has been working with them for the past few years. Their music features a fusion of standard jazz, R&B, funk, and soul. “We’re like a chill jazz and soul combo,” said Piper.
The five became friends through the band and have all been able to figure out their own roles. “A big part of our dynamic is joking around,” said Pancoast. “I’m like Otto’s sidekick,” joked Piper. “Marlow holds us together, he nevers gets in on the arguments,” said Montgomery, adding, “As the band got closer, our personalities got more similar.”
All members of Barn Band are part of the BHS Jazz Ensemble, and have also taken private lessons. On Monday, they performed with a few other student groups at Yoshi’s, a well-known jazz club in Oakland. “That was our best performance,” said Montgomery.
The group exclusively plays covers at the moment, but they are considering writing some of their own music and eventually recording it. Barn Band is additionally aiming to play more live shows, and is currently planning to perform at Star Grocery on April 10.